Cal's Kim tops first 2013 Haskins Award Watch List

Michael Kim of University of California during the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational.

Men's Rankings »

RankNameSchoolRating
1Cheng Tsung PanWashington  66.95 
2Ollie SchniederjansGA Tech  67.53 
3Lee McCoyGeorgia  68.19 
4Charlie DanielsonIllinois  68.33 
5Hunter StewartVanderbilt  68.42 

Men's Team Rankings »

RankNameRatingEvents
1Illinois 68.91 
2Florida State 69.59 
3Oregon 69.67 
4UCLA 69.83 
5LSU 69.90 

College golf is a team game in an individual sport. That's why individual honors, such as the Haskins Award, are so important. An NCAA Championship is everyone's goal, but most college players have one eye on professional golf, as well.

Winning the Haskins Award puts players on the same list as stars such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Justin Leonard, David Duval, Stewart Cink, Jay Haas, Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar, Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan.

Here is our first spring edition of the Haskins Watch List, which takes a look at some of the favorites for this season's award. This year's race seems to be especially wide-open. It's important to note that players not on the list are not excluded from consideration. Anyone can jump into contention with a win or two this spring.

The picture will get clearer as the spring continues, but here's an early look at some of the favorites:

• • •

1. Michael Kim, California sophomore

Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 1

Golfstat Cup: 1

Events: 6

Wins: Isleworth Collegiate Invitational, Arizona Intercollegiate

Top-10s: 6

Top-5s: 4

Worst finish: T-10, Ping-Golfweek Preview

The skinny: Kim established himself as the front-runner at the Arizona Intercollegiate, where he shared medalist honors with teammate Joel Stalter. It was his second consecutive first-place finish after his win at Isleworth. Kim's game is all about incredible consistency. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in six starts.

• • •

2. Cheng-Tsung Pan, Washington sophomore

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 2

Golfstat Cup: 4

Events: 5

Wins: Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational

Top-10s: 5

Top-5s: 4

Worst finish: T-10, Amer Ari Invitational

The skinny: Like Kim, Pan hasn't finished outside the top 10. Pan finished the fall season at No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, but has one less win than Kim. Pan finished in the top 3 in all four of his fall starts.

• • •

3. Patrick Rodgers, Stanford sophomore

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 15

Golfstat Cup: 21

Events: 6

Wins: Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational, U.S. Collegiate

Top-10s: 3

Top-5s: 2

Worst finish: T-49, Amer Ari Invitational

The skinny: Yes, he's finished outside the top-10 in half his starts, but he also has won two of the top events of the season. No one has claimed two bigger titles, which is why Rodgers sits this high on the list.

• • •

4. Trevor Simsby, Washington junior

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 5

Golfstat Cup: 5

Events: 5

Wins: Pac-12 Preview

Top-10s: 4

Top-5s: 4

Worst finish: T-26, Ping-Golfweek Preview

The skinny: The junior has two second-place finishes (Kikkor-Husky Invitational, Amer Ari Invitational) to go along with his Pac-12 Preview win. It's been quite the rise for the junior, who was outside the top 100 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings last year.

• • •

5. Brandon Stone, Texas freshman

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 3

Golfstat Cup: 7

Events: 4

Wins: Carpet Capital Collegiate

Top-10s: 2

Top-5s: 2

Worst finish: T-21, Isleworth Collegiate Invitational

The skinny: Stone's fourth-place finish at the Amer Ari was his only other top 10 besides his Carpet Capital win. He played the 11th-toughest schedule in the nation, though, so he needs to be cut some slack for a couple finishes outside the top 10.

• • •

6. Justin Thomas, Alabama sophomore

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 7

Golfstat Cup: 17

Events: 5

Wins: Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate

Top-10s: 3

Top-5s: 3

Worst finish: T-26, Ping-Golfweek Preview

The skinny: The reigning Haskins Award winner is off to a good start in his attempt to become the first back-to-back award winner since Phil Mickelson. He closed the fall season with his Jerry Pate win and runner-up at Isleworth. The spring was where Thomas made his run last year, winning at Puerto Rico, the SEC Championahip and an NCAA regional. He played the nation's fourth-hardest schedule this fall.

• • •

7. Daniel Berger, Florida State sophomore

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 4

Golfstat Cup: 15

Events: 4

Wins: Gator Invitational

Top-10s: 3

Top-5s: 3

Worst finish: T-16, Ping-Golfweek Preview

The skinny: Berger failed to qualify for Florida State's first event of the year. How quickly things have turned. One of the events on his record, the Cabo Intercollegiate (T-5), was just an 18-hole event, though. He also has a win (Gator) and runner-up (Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational) to his credit.

• • •

8. Jace Long, Missouri senior

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 10

Golfstat Cup: 3

Events: 6

Wins: Turning Stone Intercollegiate, Golfweek Conference Challenge, Champs/Patriot Intercollegiate

Top-10s: 5

Top-5s: 3

Worst finish: T-11, The Farms Intercollegiate

The skinny: Long won his first three starts this season, and now has gone three starts without a win. Because of his schedule – it ranks 807th in the nation – he'll need to pick up some more wins to contend for player of the year honors.

• • •

9. Kevin Penner, UNLV senior

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 13

Golfstat Cup: 14

Events: 5

Wins: Western Refining College Golf All-America Classic

Top-10s: 5

Top-5s: 3

Worst finish: T-9, Jack Nicklaus Invitational

The skinny: Not only did Penner win the Western Refining, but he also was second at the Ping-Golfweek Preview and hasn't finished outside the top-10. His strength of schedule (91st) hurts him, but his consistency is commendable. Winning college golf's all-star game doesn't hurt, either.

• • •

10. Albin Choi, North Carolina State junior

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 23

Golfstat Cup: 12

Events: 5

Wins: Tar Heel Intercollegiate, Warrior Wave Intercollegiate

Top-10s: 4

Top-5s: 3

Worst finish: T-20, Rod Myers Invitational

The skinny: Choi doesn't fare as well in the rankings as some of the other players on this list, but he has won twice, and for that reason he can't be ignored. North Carolina State's Matt Hill won the 2009 Haskins Award.

• • •

11. Pontus Widegren, UCLA senior

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 6

Golfstat Cup: 2

Events: 3

Wins: San Marcos Fall Classic

Top-10s: 3

Top-5s: 3

Worst finish: 4th, Gifford Collegiate Invitational; Amer Ari Invitational

The skinny: Widegren's limited action makes him tough to place. He's only played in UCLA's starting event twice, but finished fourth both times. His win at the San Marcos Fall Classic came in a 'JV' event where he was playing as an individual. You can't ignore a player who ranks so highly in both rankings, though.

• • •

12. Julien Brun, TCU sophomore

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 8

Golfstat Cup: 10

Events: 4

Wins: Carmel Cup

Top-10s: 2

Top-5s: 2

Worst finish: T-21, Isleworth Collegiate Invitational

The skinny: TCU played just two fall starts, but he picked up a win at the Carmel Cup. He opened the spring with a T-3 at the Arizona Intercollegiate and T-17 at the Amer Ari. Brun was a first-team All-American last season, the NCAA runner-up and has won on the Challenge Tour. Look to him to get into a rythm this spring.

• • •

13. Richard Lamb, Tennessee senior

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 30

Golfstat Cup: 33

Events: 5

Wins: Gifford Collegiate Invitational, SeaBest Invitational

Top-10s: 3

Top-5s: 3

Worst finish: T37, Windon Intercollegiate

The skinny: Lamb moves into this list after winning in his last two starts.

• • •

14. Corey Conners, Kent State junior

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 11

Golfstat Cup: 22

Events: 5

Wins: Gopher Invitational

Top-10s: 3

Top-5s: 3

Worst finish: T15, Inverness Intercollegiate

The skinny: The Kent State junior from Canada opened his fall with a win at the Gopher Invitational and has finished in the top-15 in all five starts this year.

• • •

15. Joel Stalter, Cal junior

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 12

Golfstat Cup: 9

Events: 4

Wins: Arizona Intercollegiate

Top-10s: 3

Top-5s: 2

Worst finish: T-40, Isleworth Collegiate Invitational

The skinny: Stalter missed Cal's first two events, but has become one of the nation's top collegians since then. His only win came at the Arizona Intercollegiate, where he was co-medalist with teammate Michael Kim.

• • •

16. Scott Fernandez, Iowa State sophomore

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Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 9

Golfstat Cup: 11

Events: 4

Wins: 0

Top-10s: 4

Top-5s: 4

Worst finish: T-3, Bridgestone Collegiate; The Farms Intercollegiate

The skinny: Fernandez is the only player on this list without a win, but he's also finished in the top-3 in every event he has played. He'll need to pick up a couple wins this spring to become a serious contender for this award, though.

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